Better Business Bureau Report for
Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies

Better Business Bureau Report issued October 2012
Better Business Bureau Report expires October 2014

Does not meet one or more standards
This charity does not meet one or more of the 20 standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies
Address: 610 S Michigan Ave
  Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-322-1700
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:Spertus College of Judaica

Year, State Incorporated: 1925, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: Spertus is a center for Jewish learning and culture that invites people to explore the Jewish experience. Through public programming, exhibits, collections, research facilities, and degree programs, Spertus inspires learning, serves diverse communities, and fosters understanding for Jews and people of all faiths, locally, regionally, and around the world.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies does not meet the following 2 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 16: Annual Report - Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies does not meet this standard because:

  • The organization states it does not have an annual report covering activities conducted in the past year.

Standard 17: Web Site Disclosures - Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies does not meet this Standard because the organization's website,, does not include all of the recommended information for those charity websites that solicit for donations. Specifically, it does not include:

  • A summary of program service accomplishments.
  • A roster of the board of directors.
  • Total income.
  • Total program expenses.
  • Total fund raising expenses.
  • Total administrative expenses.
  • End of year net assets.
  • The organization’s mailing address.
In addition, the BBB of Chicago & Northern Illinois requested but did not receive complete information on the organization’s governance and oversight, effectiveness measures, finances, solicitation materials, and fundraising disclosures and is unable to verify the organization's compliance with the following 7Standards for Charity Accountability: 1, 3, 6, 7, 14, 15, and 19.
Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies meets the remaining 11 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Founded in 1924 as Chicago’s College of Jewish Studies, Spertus today offers an innovative, non-denominational array of specialized and public programming, grounded in Jewish thought, inspired by Jewish values, and resolutely relevant to people’s lives. Spertus offers accredited graduate-level degree programs in areas that are critical to the Jewish and wider communities—including Jewish studies, leadership training, and nonprofit management. Recognizing that learning is sparked by many points of entry, programming at Spertus also includes cultural and continuing education offerings, such as lectures, seminars, exhibitions, concerts, and films. Partnerships and collaborative relationships in the Jewish, academic, philanthropic, and cultural arenas further allow Spertus to serve as a portal for diverse learning opportunities. The Institute cultivates an atmosphere of lively discourse. We often hear from students and participants that their experiences at Spertus are inspiring and even transformative. That is by design, because the Institute pursues cutting-edge best practice in everything it does. This results in meaningful, important opportunities for personal and professional growth for constituents and communities.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies's program expenses were:

Spertus College Programs 2,249,661
Auxiliary Services 2,085,276
Spertus Collections Programs 636,685
Total Program Expenses: $4,971,622
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Chief Executive : Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer

Chair of the Board: Mark Mehlman
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Attorney

Board Size: 28

Paid Staff Size: 70

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

Fund raising costs were 7% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $3,787,655, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Spertus Institute Of Jewish Studies's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

Source of Funds  
Gifts and Bequests 2,004,872
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Grants 1,730,733
Auxiliary Services 850,471
Tuition Revenue 732,756
Realized and Unrealized Gains 644,110
Rental and Miscellaneous Revenue 173,849
Interest and Dividend Income 125,576
Government Grants 52,050
Total Income $6,314,417


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 79%  Fund Raising: 4%  Administrative: 17% 

Total income $6,314,417
Program expenses $4,971,622
Fund raising expenses 270,736
Administrative expenses 1,083,334
Total expenses $6,325,692
Expenses in Excess of Income (11,275)
Beginning net assets 16,902,829
Ending net assets 15,215,735
Total liabilities 51,411,054
Total assets $66,626,789

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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